Welcome to The Full Run, a comic book column that is on the internet (sometimes). Join us as we continue our ADHD-riddled examination of every single Wally West Flash comic ever published! Or, like, most of them, anyway.

Some context: Back in 1997, Mark Waid decided to take a year-long break from his legendary run as Flash writer and two Scottish guys called Grant Morrison and Mark Millar took over the series for a while. In the following years the already popular Morrison went on to become one of the most acclaimed comic book writers of all time, while Millar went on to become a famous male prostitute. Here's what happened when those two guys sat down to write Flash comics.

 


 

Flash #130 (October 1997) – "Emergency Stop: Part One"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Morrison and Millar's run opens with The Flash's dead body lying in an alley with a note that says: "You have an hour to solve your own murder. -The Suit." It's a perfectly nutty beginning to a perfectly nutty run. Wally manages to avoid dying at the hands of The Suit (literally, a sentient evil supervillain suit) by creating a time loop, but breaks his legs in the process.

 

 

 

 

 


Flash #131 (November 1997) – "Threads (Emergency Stop: Part Two)"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

With Wally crippled, it's up to fellow speedsters Max Mercury, Jay Garrick and Impulse to stop The Suit, which they attempt to do by taking turns dressing up as Flash to try to confuse the guy — possibly the most exciting battle of clothes in comics. Somehow this brilliant plan fails and The Suit ends up possessing Max and breaking a bunch of supervillains out of prison. 

 

 

 

 

 


Flash #132 (December 1997) – "Fashion Victims (Emergency Stop: Part Three)"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Wally saves the day by figuring out how to create a new suit made out of energy siphoned straight out of the Speed Force, which allows him to run again despite having his legs broken. Apparently Morrison and Millar really fucking hated the "shiny" suit Wally had been using for the past 80 issues and this whole storyline was just their excuse to get him a new one.

 

 

 

 


The Life Story of the Flash (1997)

(Mark Waid, Bryan Augustyn / Gil Kane, Joe Staton / Tom Palmer)

This is neat: In the DC Universe, Life Story of the Flash was a biography of Barry "Flash II" Allen written by his wife Iris in the distant future. As seen in previous issues, the book caused some headaches when it found its way to the present, since it revealed past and future events. 

DC actually published Barry Allen's biography as a 100-page graphic novel with text portions in 1997, and amazingly it really does hint at future storylines that hadn't been printed yet, like Impulse's evil clone Inertia (1999), the birth of Wally's twins (2005) and the fact that Wally would meet Barry again three times (Flash #200, Flash #225 and Final Crisis #2, I guess.)

 

 


Flash #133 (January 1998) – "Through the Looking Glass"

(Mark Millar, Grant Morrison / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Scottish pain in the ass and supervillain, the Mirror Master, is back to fuck with Wally's head: He traps Linda in an alternate dimension where she ages backwards and splits Wally into seven different-colored Flashes by making him run through a prism, among other crazy tricks. I love the last panel here: "Wally, you've been spending too much time between Scotsmen."

 

 

 

 


Flash #134 (February 1998) – "Still Life in the Fast Lane"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Wally reluctantly takes a week off to recover from his injuries while Jay Garrick steps in to fulfill his Captain Cold-punching duties. This is a nice "day in the life" story centering on Jay (who is like 80 years old at this point) as he goes around visiting old friends, fighting supervillains and trying to cure cancer. There's also a nice meta-conversation between him, Wally and Nightwing.

 

 

 

 


Green Lantern #96 (March 1998) – "Three of a Kind, Part One"

(Ron Marz / Paul Pelletier / John Lowe)

Crossover time! 

Wally, Connor Hawke (Green Arrow #2) and Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern #4,328,928,625) go on a cruise ship to Alaska together, because that's the sort of thing young heterosexual superheroes did in the '90s. The ship, however, is hijacked by a supervillain dream team consisting on Heat Wave, Sonar and Hatchet, whoever that is, who are unironically presented as a serious threat.

 

 

 


Green Arrow #130 (March 1998) – "Death at the Top of the World"

(Chuck Dixon / William Rosado / Sal Buscema)

Th
e supervillain threesome has taken hostage the cruise ship that Wally, Connor and Kyle coincidentally happened to be in because they managed to smuggle a frozen Doctor Polaris into the cargo bay (last time we saw him, he was trying to cause a new ice age). There is some punching as the heroes try to stop Polaris from being awoken, but ultimately fail. Oh no!

 

 

 

 


Flash #135 (March 1998) – "Death at the Top of the World, Part Three"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Hey, notice how the three covers in this crossover form one image? That's neat. We can forgive the fact that they never decided if the story was called "Three of a Kind" or "Death at the Top of the World."

After last issue's dramatic cliffhanger, this one interestingly jumps forward to the trial of the three villains (we all knew they'd lose anyway) and we learn the rest of the story from their statements. Their lawyer almost succeeds at getting the villains off on a technicality, but Connor's wisdom and Wally's speed-reading skills prevent this. Meanwhile, Kyle is there, too.

 

 


New Year's Evil: The Rogues #1 (February 1998) – "Men & Gods"

(Brian Augustyn / Ron Wagner / Bill Reynolds)

A pretty unremarkable one-shot featuring the Rogues Gallery villains, Nero and some Asian demons bullshit. It's kinda painful to read the pre-Geoff Johns Rogues because most of their personalities are so inconsistent, if they have them: Captain Cold and Weather Wizard are total chumps, while Heat Wave's villain/hero status and hair situation seems to vary between issues.

 

 

 

 


Flash #136 (April 1998) – "Radio Days (The Human Race, Part One)"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Paul Ryan / John Nyberg)

Combine the Galactus Saga, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Olympic Games and a Pixar movie and you might get something half as crazy as this storyline: Two giant aliens come to Earth and force Wally to race into a black hole for the fate of the planet. Wally's opponent is his imaginary friend from childhood, a cute being made of electricity Wally used to talk to through his radio.

 

 

 

 


Flash #137 (May 1998) – "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (The Human Race, Part Two)"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Ron Wagner / John Nyberg)

Wally's cosmic race takes him across time and space, and he even gets a little boost from Krypton's explosion. Even knowing their home planets will be destroyed if they lose, Wally and his "imaginary" friend Krakkl still help each other out. Awww. Also, artist Paul Ryan is replaced by Ron Wagner in this issue, a nice choice since Wagner's style is much more dynamic.

 

 

 

 


Flash #138 (June 1998) – "Home Run (The Human Race, Part Three)"

(Grant Morrison, Mark Millar / Ron Wagner / John Nyberg)

The conclusion of "The Human Race" involves every able-bodied person on the planet going out to the street and running at the same time for the survival of "the human race" (see what they did there?). Meanwhile, Wally figures out how to stop the giants without dooming Krakkl's people, though Krakkl himself give up his life in a moving scene. What did I tell you? Pure Pixar.

 

 

 

 


Flash #139 (July 1998) – "The Late Wally West (The Black Flash, Part One)"

(Mark Millar / Pop Mhan / Chris Ivy)

Max Mercury thinks Wally is being chased by some sort of personification of death (not the Neil Gaiman version, sadly) and will therefore die soon, but, in a shocking twist to anyone who didn't seen the cover to this issue, Linda is the one who dies instead. Didn't we go through this exact same thing like 40 issues ago? The only difference is that, this time, she dies for real.

 

 

 

 


Flash #140 (August 1998) – "The Black Flash, Part Two"

(Mark Millar / Pop Mhan / Chris Ivy)

This is a weird issue. Linda is dead, and as a result Wally loses his powers, grows a goatee and turns into an insufferable douchebag. Meanwhile, Jesse Quick replaces him in the Justice League and Jay Garrick gets tied to a giant boomerang. Then this turns into a Final Destination movie as death comes back to claim Wally, in the shape of a speedster called The Black Flash.

 

 

 

 


Flash #141 (September 1998) – "The End (The Black Flash, Part Three)"

(Mark Millar / Pop Mhan, Joshua Hood / Chris Ivy)

Wally gets his powers back, drops off the Black Flash at the end of time and swoops by the Speed Force to retrieve Linda back to the living world. Just like that. At least this means we never have to mention the time Wally had a goatee again. The only real development that happens in
this storyline is that in the last page, Wally asks Linda to marry him.

 

 

 

 


 

Highlights

 

Even though most of these issues are credited to both Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, it's pretty easy to tell which ones were actually written by whom: The high-concept, narratively complex ones are by Morrison, and the ones I didn't like so much were by Millar. 

The highlight of the run was definitely "The Human Race", which in many ways feels like a Flash-centric arc of Morrison's JLA: The heroes encounter an impossible Earth-threatening challenge, things look terribly bleak for a while, then crazy shit happens and the world is saved. The League itself even shows up in these issues, including hook-hand Aquaman and Electric Superman.

The Millar-only Black Flash storyline, on the other hand, has some interesting ideas (mainly, the Black Flash itself), but most of it seems like a Frankenstein monster made out of regurgitated plot points from past stories. Wally/Linda destined to die? Check. Wally losing his powers and regaining them inexplicably? Check. Douchey facial hair? OK, this part is new. But hey, at least no one got raped.

 

Next

 

Mark Waid returns for his last two epic storylines: "Chain Lightning" (the one with like 200 different Flashes) and "The Dark Flash Saga" (which is cooler than the Black Flash one, I swear).

 


 

You can find out more about Maxwell Yezpitelok at twitter.com/mrmxy

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